feminists, tribes and complete w@$%ers

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i woke up this morning fairly peaceful – drinking my tea and catching up on the world i came across the news article that RooshV (google him i WILL NOT be linking to his site in any way and increasing his traffic!) is organising a tribal meeting for men who subscribe to his views this saturday at 8pm in two venues in scotland but also elsewhere in the world. they are meeting in a public place and going off to a secret meeting place.

“…any women attempting to come along will be filmed with footage sent to his worldwide “anti-feminist” network who will then “exact furious retribution”……” read more about it in the article i saw in the national here .  this to me is like a red rag to a bull – of course we have to go and make sure this doesn’t happen. i wonder what that furious retribution is? why not make this threat to any man that might come along too? its not surprising that this threat was directed at women is it? this is a man who believes that rape on private property should be decriminalised. furious retribution from a man who is famous for talking about legalising rape intimates they will be raped or subjected to some kind of sexual violence – even by words on the internet.  i have three women in my family who have been raped – two of them more than once – all on private property – every time it was non-consensual sexual violence – every time they were hurt and damaged beyond belief – every time this will impact their life and those they love forever – every time all our hearts tore apart.  rape is NEVER justified and should NEVER be encouraged and ANYONE that is supporting him is a potential rapist or enabler – we must go to these meeting points as women AND men and object and protest and be heard. sexual violence is very, very common and on the increase – lets change that.

i admit i went to his website to gather further information – he puts his points across very eloquently and articulately under the guise of rebuilding and healing the fabric of our society that has been so damaged by feminism. i read carefully the post entitled “do not have sex with feminists” including comments on how its just like not picking up fat women (for fucks sake!!!!) and how to rid yourself of a feminist if you come across them in a bar or nightclub (which interestingly he suggests you shouldn’t be picking women up in anyway) – i was particularly taken by the advice that if a woman says to you as a man if you believe in equality you are a feminist your response should be lol i don’t talk to feminists and you immediately turn your back on her. i’d like to see how this one goes down in glasgow on saturday night – please do let me know if you hear about the ensuing woman on man horrible violence that is sure to follow this behaviour! guess what rooshV? feminists generally don’t actually want to have sex with misogynistic rape-friendly wankers so i think you’ll all be safe. there was however one woman commenting asking if she could come along to the all male meeting – i like to think she’s going to let off teargas or something but i fear it may be that she has some issues she needs to work through.

i am so angry and what better thing to do with that anger than use the energy. so i wrote this and i call you all to join me at Glasgow’s George Square or Edinburgh’s Grassmarket or wherever it may be in your local city that men are gathering at 8pm to go off to their tribal meeting (don’t even get me started on the term tribal!), contact the police, call your MP’s office, do whatever you can and let your voice be heard. we really need to hear mens voices on this too – we need men to be really vocal in saying they don’t want this for their gender, for their partners, sisters, mothers and daughters. lets shut this down before its even started.

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don’t bring this 50 shades bullshit to birth work

this morning i woke up and along with millions of others began scrolling my facebook feed. i’ve been following the coverage of the 50 shades movie release with some interest.  i joined #50DollarsNot50Shades and have been happily promoting this fantastic initiative to send $50 to your local womens refuge rather than buying a ticket to watch what the reviews are telling me is a really poor film regardless of the subject matter.

so as i scrolled down past cats pushing glasses of water off desks, coverage of the terrible chapel hill shootings and beloveds holiday shots this morning there was a very distasteful presence of memes made by midwives suggesting all  the birthkeepers better prepare for a spike in the birth rate come november after the release of this movie. it has turned my stomach.  i believe birthkeepers have a responsibility to be feminist and woman-centred always fighting for women to be kept safe and flourish, to be empowered and to protect them while they realise and actualise their own strength and power. more than anyone else we know the impact of sexual trauma on a woman – i have held so many women while they wept and broke in half with the pain of their sexual abuse in my role as birthkeeper.  this smacked of those same women trivialising something that can be so damaging, demoralising, haunting and often times deadly – i am despairing – i am crestfallen and i am really fucking angry!

now i’m all for everyone getting DOWN in whatever way they want – seriously i have no hang ups about what people get up to when they are being consensual. thing is with this book and this subsequent movie is that it’s not hot sex in a safe context – it’s hot sex in a very dangerous context.  this blog post however isn’t to pull that apart as many, many others have done so in a wonderful way.

this blog post is about how on earth women who are supporting women around birth can think its appropriate to joke about this! since when is it okay to joke about stalking, domestic violence and sexual abuse? i grew up in a home with a very charming, handsome, rich, charismatic and horribly abusive and controlling man – i know how this goes down and i know how far it permeates – female members of my family have read this book and found it hot regardless of the trauma they have suffered. you know i really hope lots of people have some great really hot sex this weekend and i hope that some of this sex results in babies or i’d be out of a job but what i want more than anything is for us all to THINK about this for a minute. is it about hot sex or is it that the mainstream have now decided that this kind of abuse is hot ? many abused women stay remember and have sex and express love and still find their man hot – it’s a very fine line that is easily crossed – as a dear facebook friend said and i quote “.. replace Grey with that creepy guy working down the road in tesco, and the whole thing would not be regarded as quite so harmless and hot anymore. so as long as you are a hot guy, abusive is ok….women should probably just count themselves lucky….”

please, please birthkeepers i emplore you to take down any jokes that have this distasteful subject at its heart – please, please i beg you do not bring this 50 shades bullshit to birth work!

fifty

nicola mahdiyyah goodall is a revert muslim who grew up with hip hop based in edinburgh, scotland and london, england. she works with women trying and mainly succeeding to build circles of knowledge and community primarily with birth.

she is also the director of wysewomen publishing and facilitates wysewomen workshops and red tent doula courses.

news from afghanistan

this autumn in bali i met an incredible italian birthkeeper who selflessly travels the earth helping out in the most incredible situations – i asked her if we could hear her news on her travels as i have been so inspired by her and she is most definately a wysewoman – here is her news from afghanistan …please keep her in your prayers and know that there is a small but immensely strong army out there to heal the world one small step at a time….nicola

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Dear friends,

it has been already 6 weeks in Afghanistan.. time is flying by. I wanted to write you before but it has been really difficult to gather my feelings and write them down in this email. In our daily activities seem that our lives are flat, nothing special happen, just normal activities every day. In these 6 weeks a lot has happened here, many stories to tell..

In this email, I wanna talk about women. It’s my favorite topic… Women are my heros, but here they are nothing, the most ungrateful human being in the world. For some, women are not even a human being.
I am placed  in a city in the south east of Afghanistan, close pakistan border. It is a conservative area. Women wear burqa and is not allowed not to wear it because men cannot look at women belonging to other men. When they go out, they should always accompanied by a man. This culture is really sensitive about gender separation, women should not look at men. When we have general staff meeting or celebration, women and men are separated. They cannot talk with men. For us it’s different, we can talk with them, but rarely we are taking into account. Some men don’t even look at you when you talk, if a man say something to a man, it’s a different story that they will take for sure into account. If I say something to a man, often I am just a woman talking. We cannot touch men or even attempt to have a discussion about women or deep talk. Some men are very kind and respectful. I believe, I hope, they are the same with their wives. They live in big family, around 20 people in a house and they share everything.

All this seems strict, very hard .. It is. But I will never try to judge them for this.
There is something amazing I wanna talk about with you.. It’s inside the hospital. It’s a women environment, there are no men, they are not allowed to enter. Everyday I walk through the door that connect the compound with the hospital, when I enter the hospital is like entering into a special place. Midwives love the hospital, is the only place they can behave how they want, they don’t wear burqa and you can see their beauty. They are beautiful with long black hair and that smile… Everyday I receive so many hugs. I have never received so many hugs in my life! They are so tender, affectionate with us and amongst them too. This is probably because they don’t receive love in their lives, And you can tell that they are happy to be in the hospital to be themselves, without being checked by men.

When I am around the hospital, they often call me to have chai, tea, with them. We sit together, we talk about our cultures and of course they ask me if I am married or if I have got some children.. I ask then the same question to them.. They are all young, most of them married with already 2-3 children. One day I asked to the postnatal supervisor if she was married and she told me that she is single because men are mean and she doesn’t like them. I understood that something happened to her.. I didn’t dare to ask more.

I think I am falling in love with this group of women, gathering inside the hospital and sharing that bit of love they don’t receive out of this environment..
I want to end this email telling you a story of a young girl of 12-13 years old. She has been raped and got pregnant. She has been hidden the pregnancy for 9 months. When she started labor she is obliged to come to the hospital. She said to the parents that she has a myoma and needs to go to the hospital. The mother then understood that she was pregnant, the father has some doubts and said to her that if she is pregnant and give birth he will kill her. According to the culture a woman cannot bear a child if she is not married and should be killed if happens. SO she came to us, had a very difficult delivery. Unfortunately the baby died during birth. . She stayed all day in the hospital but the day after the birth, smiling, she said she needed to go back home. The father was outside waiting for her. We don’t know what happened, but the midwives said that for sure she will be killed.

I want to tell you that I am happy to be here, because I am finding out that is some part of the world women are not living a life but a nightmare. I am happy to witness that and to share with you. I cannot change a culture but I hope to bring a bit of love in this hospital. I have seen so many births in my 6 years of midwife, but never seen a birth without love like in afghanistan.  I hope a bit of kindness, love for these women. If I will achieve that, I don’t know if something for them will change, but worth it to try.

Merry Christmas to all, if you decide to have some presents under the Christmas tree, do not forget to make a wish for these women!

Hugs&Love